In episode 018 of my leadership podcast, Garage to Goliath | Leaders Building Legacies, I interviewed the President and CEO of Coast to Coast Conferences and Events, Michelle Manire. You can listen to our interview here.
In our talk together Michelle gave a real-life demonstration of the mind of an entrepreneur and legacy leadership. She shared with my audience a problem she sees in her industry and then started talking through a business plan on how to fix it and how she plans to create value in that space.
It was a neat thing for my listeners to hear someone talk through, in real time, how business creates value in society by solving problems and helping people.
While every leader is not an entrepreneur in the traditional sense of starting or owning their own business, there are certain traits we can learn from the mind of an entrepreneur to help us evolve as leaders and create a positive leadership legacy.
Here are 3 exercises to cultivate the mind of an entrepreneur:
1. Be solution oriented - Entrepreneurs don’t just settle for a problem they’re curious and eager to create a solution. You can do the same professionally and personally. The moment you catch yourself fixating on a problem, at work or at home, focus your next immediate thought on potential creative solutions to that problem and then think of how you will communicate those solutions to the people you need to help you tackle a problem.
Normal people settle for problems. Legacy leaders aggressively look for solutions.
2. Focus on value creation - Entrepreneurs don’t just settle for chasing money, they aim to change the world around them through creating value. Money is indeed important. However, the money you earn is merely a byproduct of how well you help people and the value you create for society. Aim to create value for others with your business, whether you own the business or are an employee of a business. If you focus on value creation, more often than not, profits will follow.
Make value creation your priority and you will attract money, not chase it.
3. Practice an internal locus of control - You may be familiar with what psychologists call an “external locus of control.” An external locus of control is when an individual believes their life is a result or the sum of factors outside of their control. And to be certain, you’re life is affected by many factors outside of your control, I do not dismiss that.
The real question is how much do you focus on things you can’t control rather than the things you can control in your life. When you act out of an external locus of control, I call this writing a ‘yes, but’ story.
But my competition . . .
But the weather . . .
But the economy . . .
But my spouse . . .
When you have an external locus of control your focus is external on all the things you can’t control.
If you are writing a ‘yes, but’ story, you’re more likely to feel like the victim of your circumstances, rather than a champion over them. When you have an external locus of control, when you write a ‘yes, but’ story, you primarily focus your attention on the whole host of unfairness life hurls at you.
The entrepreneurial mind practices an internal locus of control or what I call writing a ‘yes, and’ story.
Life will deliver knocks and some pretty bad knocks at times. If you practice an internal locus of control, you may not be able to control what happens to you, but you believe you do control your response and how you take control of the situation and your life moving forward.
You perceive life’s knocks, not as problems that plague you, rather challenges for you to overcome. Now instead of competing with external forces (forces outside of your control), you can focus on creating something good out of any mess.
When you practice an internal locus of control or write a ‘yes, and’ story, you create space and opportunity for you to be the champion and thus create a deeper sense of satisfaction you can in turn pass on to others in your life.
As a substantial added bonus, if you act out of an internal locus of control you are likely to have greater life satisfaction and experience a greater sense of well-being not to mention you’re likely to achieve greater financial success and be enjoy better physical health.
Even if you aren’t an entrepreneur in the traditional sense, you can cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset when it comes to your life — both professionally and personally.
Write a ‘yes, and’ story.
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